HEALTH: Exercises to Beat Daily Aches and Pains

With juggling homeschooling, work, and family care, the nation’s mums have deserved a medal over the past year. Yet, the stress of constantly running around has taken its toll on women’s muscular wellbeing, according to a new survey[1] commissioned by Deep Freeze Cold Patch – loved and trusted by mums around the globe...

With more than eight in ten mums saying they have to rest due to muscular discomfort, it’s time to encourage mums to look after their own health, particularly taking care of muscle and joint niggles and strains.

This e-news will look at mums’ experiences as lockdown eases, and offer tips from leading GP and mum of three, Dr Nisa Aslam, for a top-to-toe muscle and joint makeover.

Muscle woes – pregnancy often to blame

More than eight in ten women in the Deep Freeze Cold Patch survey had experienced some type of muscular pain in the past few years, with the most common being back pain (41 percent). As well as this:

  • A third have suffered from muscular pain in the leg, shoulders, or neck;
  • Nearly a fifth complain of pain in the feet – a symptom of plantar fasciitis
  • Other less frequent problems include sprains and sciatica (16 percent) and shin splints (11 percent).

Dr Nisa Aslam comments: “Interestingly, mums of toddlers are more likely to report foot pain, knee pain and sprains – perhaps linked to the constant activity needed to look after a young child at home. Bending down to pick up children and toys can often put a strain on the knees and back, so it’s important to protect these areas by squatting rather than stooping.”

The majority of women (58 percent) said their muscular pains were linked to pregnancy while 24 percent blamed it on exercise. More than eight in ten women have been forced to rest because of muscular problems, while a third said leg pain, in particular, had limited their daily activities.

Cooling therapy benefits 

The Deep Freeze Cold Patch survey asked what mums were doing to manage muscular pain and stiffness, but the answer was surprising – hot baths! Over four in ten women chose this option despite experts agreeing that a bath provides only temporary relief. A similar proportion put their feet up or took painkillers (42 percent) while just under a fifth used cold therapy. Around a third stretched or massaged the area.

Dr Aslam says: “With muscular angst using cooling therapy in the form of a cold patch like Deep Freeze Cold Patch, helps soothe the area and provides long-lasting cold therapy which is skin-friendly. The Deep Freeze Cold Patch is an adhesive patch specially formulated with aloe Vera, menthol fragrance and water, in a hydrogel layer. The water inside the patch slowly evaporates over a number of hours to generate that lasting, soothing, cooling relief.

In other words, the Deep Freeze Cold Patch works just like ice.  However, unlike ice, it is convenient, does not burn and provides cooling, soothing cold therapy relief on the go for up to three hours. Ice can only be recommended for up to 10 minutes at a time.”

Busy lives make mums feel tired and unappreciated

Lockdown has meant that mums were busier than ever in the past year, with homeschooling and trying to juggle work a constant worry. More than half of women feel more tired while a third say they don’t get a minute to themselves. Sadly:

  • A fifth feel unappreciated for their efforts, with nearly half saying they wish they had more support from their partner 
  • Four in ten would like other family members to help more.

Homeschooling, in particular, has caused extra stress – with a third of mums saying they have less patience while a quarter feels grumpy or likely to snap. The pressure has made a fifth of women feel “stressed 24/7” and “forget things all the time”. A few even feel resentful.

Yet, some mums were doing the right things to take care of their own health. Almost four in ten ate a balanced diet, while a third grabbed time for themselves or got out to exercise. A similar percentage (32 percent) had a regular chat with other mums. Dr Aslam comments: “Mums tend to work flat out for their families but they should also consider their own needs. Niggles, like headaches, backache, and fatigue, can quickly become a problem so it’s important to deal with these early with muscle self-care and de-stressing exercises”.

Muscle makeover for mums

Personal trainer, Emily Williams for Deep Freeze Cold Patch has come up with three tips to support busy mums:

#1. Reach-ups: These exercises help with the transversus abdominis muscle – a muscle that reaches right across the front of the abdomen and out to the sides. Basically, it hugs the abdominals. To do the reach-ups, lie down on your back, with feet hip-width apart. Breathe out and tilt your pelvis up. Hold your hands straight up in the air, palms facing each other.  As you breathe out pull your shoulders and your head slightly off the floor as though you are reaching up. Hold for two seconds, then release, bringing the arms back down to the floor. Repeat this move 10 times, three to five times a day.

#2. The Bird-Dog: Start on all fours, pulling your abdominal muscles in, as though you are pulling your belly button towards your spine. Take the opposite arm and leg and extend them while exhaling out. squeeze your glutes, keeping your hips and shoulders straight. Repeat on the other side. Do this exercise 10 times, three to five times a day.

#3. Side Leg Pulse: Lie on your side, with knees at a 90-degree angle and head supported with your hand.  Hips, shoulders, and knees should be in a straight line. Take the top leg and extend, so it is now straight. Bring the straight leg up, toes pointing toward the ceiling slightly, and pulse for two to three seconds, then bring it back down. Repeat 10 times on each side, three to five times a day.

Last word

The Deep Freeze Cold Patch survey revealed that mums typically have full-on lives which can exacerbate muscular aches and pains. Following our experts’ three tips for a top-to-toe muscle makeover can help mums to cope with their busy lives, stay healthier and pain-free.

Deep Freeze Cold Patch 

  • Long lasting, adhesive patch 
  • To cool, soothe and comfort the back during pregnancy and beyond
  • Suitable for legs and feet
  • Non-medicinal 
  • Always check new symptoms with your midwife or GP
Minerva Studio
Author: Minerva Studio